DNR News: Help your trees beat the summer heat

DNR News: Help your trees beat the summer heat

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DNR News

June 20, 2024

Contact: Kevin Sayers, 517-582-3209, or Kerry Gray, 734-691-1806

A closeup of a person's hands using an orange bucket to water a small tree on a city street.

Help your trees beat the summer heat with a little water

If you planted any trees within the last couple of years, it may be time to bring out the garden hose. Hot summer conditions such as those Michigan is experiencing this week mean your newly planted trees will likely need a drink.

“If your trees are not getting at least 1 inch of rain per week, water them until regular rain returns,” said Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forestry Program manager with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Deciduous trees – those that lose their leaves in fall – show drought stress through curling or drooping leaves. Leaves may “scorch,” or turn brown at the edges, fall off early or exhibit early fall color. Evergreen needles may turn yellow, then red or brown.

A sprinkler arcs streams of water droplets over a green suburban yard.

Watering and care tips

It’s important to water trees correctly. When watering, prioritize newly planted or high-value trees. Here are some tips:

  • Sprinkler: Place an empty container or rain gauge nearby while watering; stop when it measures about 1 inch of water.
  • Hand watering via hose: Let water run slowly until the ground is saturated 10-12 inches deep and moist near the base of small trees or at various points under the canopy of large trees.
  • 5-gallon bucket: Most newly planted trees need 5 to 10 gallons of water each week, so give them a bucket or two.
  • Soaker or trickle hoses: These types of hoses provide slow watering. This is important to provide moisture deep into the soil, where roots need it most.
  • Don’t water during the middle of the day. Much of the water applied at the hottest or windiest time of day is immediately lost to evaporation.
  • Mist sprinklers aren’t effective for trees. As much as 70 percent of water may evaporate into the air.
  • Lay off the fertilizer. Fertilizer salts can injure tree roots when soil moisture is limited.
  • Try mulch. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and save water. Apply 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch under the tree canopy, around but not touching the base of the trunk. You want the finished mulch pile to look like a doughnut, not a volcano..
  • Check out MSU Extension’s guidance on watering.

Plant a tree recently? Pin it!

The DNR pledged to plant 50 million trees by 2030, but we need your help. After you plant, pin your new trees on the interactive map. You can also get tree planting and care tips on our Mi Trees challenge webpage.

It’s National Pollinator Week! What’s the buzz?

It’s National Pollinator Week! What’s the buzz?

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News Digest – Week of June 17, 2024

A field of wild, blue lupine; the tall, spiky flowers sway invitingly in the wind.

Pollinators are key to Michigan’s diverse ecosystems, supporting rare plants like wild lupine.

Here are a few of this week’s stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of some of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Questions about this newsletter content? Email [email protected].


It’s National Pollinator Week! What’s the buzz?

A black and yellow bumblebee, laden with pollen, lands on a blue lupine.Summer officially rolls in this week, and soon the buzz of insect wings will fill the air. Many of those insects will benefit the flowering plants around them, helping them grow and mature through the process of pollination.

Pollinators serve a critical function in our ecosystems, often acting as keystone species, which means they support a large variety of other species through their natural function. According to Pollinators.org, these essential creatures are the “unsung heroes” behind the food we enjoy and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Many pollinators are generalists, visiting all manner of plants for nectar and pollen, while some, like monarch butterflies, specialize in one plant (milkweed). But there’s more to pollinators than first meets the eye, and more species take part in this natural process than you might think. During National Pollinator Week (also honored here in Michigan), let’s look at a few.

Bees and butterflies

Bumblebees are some of the best pollinators in nature, their soft, fuzzy bodies perfect for “buzz pollination.” They’re often the first bees active after winter, and the last ones buzzing around in fall. Unfortunately, many species of bumblebee are federally endangered.

Mason bees are excellent pollinators, giving a boost to fruit trees, berries and flowers. This solitary species nests in hollow stems, with the female creating as many egg chambers as she can before the end of her life cycle. In the process, she visits an enormous quantity of flowers, bringing back pollen and nectar for her brood to feast on when they emerge from their cells. Gentle and nonaggressive, these bees rarely sting.

Monarch butterflies are one of the most recognizable butterfly species, making their summer home here in Michigan. Monarchs rely solely on varieties of milkweed to host their young and provide much-needed food sources. Due to a loss of habitat, the eastern North American monarch population has declined by 90% in the last two decades according to the Center for Biological Diversity, prompting an increase in conservation efforts. You can log your monarch observations with Journey North and learn how to make a monarch waystation to support population recovery.

A tiny, silver-blue butterfly with bright oransge spots rests on the stem of a plant.Much like the monarch relies on milkweed, the tiny (and federally endangered) Karner blue butterfly hosts only on wild or sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis). Karner butterflies and lupines are found only in oak barrens, pine barrens, dry sand prairies and other open areas with sandy soil. These habitats are some of the rarest natural systems in the world, having slowly declined and degraded since European settlement.

Michtell’s satyr is one of the world’s rarest butterflies and can be found only in Michigan and Indiana. The biggest threat to their continued survival is habitat loss and modification. Satyrs need a special kind of wetland habitat found in prairie fens, many of which have been altered or drained for agriculture or development, unintentionally paving the way for invasive species in those areas.

Birds

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird found in the eastern United States. Hummingbirds are especially good pollinators of long, tubular flowers; their slim, lengthy tongues reach the tasty nectar and, in the process, coat their faces in pollen, which they bring to the next flower.

Flies and wasps

Humans might find them annoying, but flies and wasps serve a vital ecological function. Besides being food for other species, they are also important pollinators.

Two-winged insects like flies, bee mimics and yes, even mosquitoes, are pollinators. While not as effective as other insects, they pollinate plants others can’t. Some plant species have evolved alongside flies, and instead of producing nectar they put out a scent like rotting meat. As flies are natural decomposers, they find the scent of flowers like red trillium, jack-in-the-pulplit, skunk cabbage and more irresistible.

A black and yellow wasp, its sleek body shining in bright sunlight.Wasps, too, are vital pollinators. In addition to acting as decomposers and prey species, wasps have miniscule hairs on their bodies, carrying pollen from plant to plant as they search for nectar. Due to their high energy needs, wasps visit a large volume of pollen-producing plants, ensuring hearty pollination.

While any loud, buzzing insect can be frightening, most won’t sting without reason, so avoid nests and don’t swat at them if you can help it.

Wind

One of the biggest pollinators is the force of nature itself. Species that rely solely on wind pollination are usually small and inconspicuous, don’t produce nectar and don’t release a scent to attract animal pollinators. Their pollen grains are released into the air, where they’re carried to other plants by the wind.

Wind can also scatter seeds, helping beneficial plants like milkweed, but also can disperse harmful pesticides and air pollutants, which can seriously harm insect populations.

Pollinators come in a variety of shapes, sizes and species, and many are facing challenges. Learning more about them and taking steps to help address those challenges are key to aiding these valuable species.


Gardening for the future: How to help pollinators

A bouquet of droopy, white flowers.One of the best ways to help pollinators now is to garden for the future; planting native species – especially perennials, which come back year after year – creates habitat for all sorts of beneficial creatures. Wherever you’re planning to install a pollinator garden, make sure you know what species will best thrive in the area you’ve chosen. Soil type and pH (acidity level), light and water are key elements to note before you break ground.

Be intentional about what you plant and have a plan.

Trees for bees

Native flowering trees like basswood, crabapple, catalpa and more are great nectar and pollen sources. These trees also attract other wildlife.

Learn how to care for these beneficial and beautiful trees and how to add them to your yard or neighborhood.

Plant native

There are many resources online to help you design and install a pollinator garden, and familiarizing yourself with plants best suited for your local landscape can be immensely helpful.

Unfortunately, many nurseries, greenhouses and landscape companies still sell plants that are known to cause harm to local ecology. These ornamental plants are attractive but can grow beyond garden boundaries and cause havoc on the surrounding habitat. Many times, they have misleading names that can cause confusion.

A brown and orange butterfly rests on a brilliant orange variety of milkweed.It’s easy to mix up species with similar names; plants like butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) are often touted as great for pollinators but in reality are invasive. Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), on the other hand, is a native variety of milkweed and much better suited for pollinator gardens. If you live in an area that can grow Karner blue habitat, make sure to plant wild lupine and avoid the big leaf variety (Lupinus polyphyllus), which can’t support Karner blue caterpillars.

When looking for native species suited for your area, your local conservation district is a great place to start. Check out programs like Go Beyond Beauty, too, which is dedicated to promoting native species while phasing out nonnative ornamentals.

If your goal is to create a pollinator paradise, make sure you know what you’re planting!

Become a community scientist

It can be hard to study bugs. Small, fleet critters are difficult to track, especially if they’re solitary. Many species are lacking significant data, meaning we don’t really know much about them. That’s where you come in.

Databases like BeeSpotter and Bumble Bee Watch help track bee sightings and offer resources for identifying species. Other community science databases like iNaturalist can help identify and log sightings of all manner of species, especially when paired with the Seek smartphone application.

Whether you live in the country, the city or anywhere between, here are a few things you can do right now to help pollinators:

  • Get involved in your local conservation district and volunteer for community science opportunities in your area.
  • Learn more about Michigan’s native species and how to identify them.
  • Keep a pollinator journal.
  • Download Seek and iNaturalist onto your smartphone.
  • Leave your garden alone in the fall and spring – many insects overwinter in plant matter. Leave bare patches of earth, and don’t rake leaves or trim back pithy-stemmed plants with long, hollow stalks that dry out over fall and winter.

Keep an eye out for invasive species

Approximately 20 spongy moth caterpillars climbing on a tree trunk, with four stuck to a band of blue tape wrapped around the trunk.Now that you have a starting point for Michigan’s beneficial species, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to watch out for, too.

Summer is the busy season for most creatures, including invasive species like spongy moth, box tree moth and Japanese beetle, to name just a few. Many of these species are established in Michigan, meaning they’re here to stay, but if you know what to look out for, you can help contain their spread and mitigate further environmental damage. While these bugs are just following their natural instincts, their presence can affect the delicate balance of ecosystems, making it harder for native species to thrive.

Spongy moth caterpillars is infesting some areas of the state. This species is known for its defoliation, often leaving trees vulnerable to diseases and other pests, which may lead to tree mortality.

Box tree moth caterpillars feed mostly on boxwood, hence their name, and heavy infestations can defoliate host plants. Once the leaves are gone, larvae consume the bark, leading to girdling – injuring the bush’s limbs in an exterior ring and interrupting the flow of nutrients – and plant death. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued an interior quarantine preventing movement of boxwood plants, plant parts and nursery stock from several counties in Michigan to slow the spread of this invasive pest.

Gardeners well know the sight of Japanese beetles, another prolific defoliator. Adults emerge from their grub stage in June and July, feeding on plants throughout the rest of summer. They can skeletonize leaves and flowers of ornamental plants and trees and can damage crops.

While you’re on the lookout for these species and more, make sure not to move firewood, which can transport invasive species and diseases into new areas. If you’re planning to have a fire, buy your wood from sources local to where you plan to burn.

Keep up to date with Michigan invasive species, including emerging or potentially threatening species on Michigan’s watch list. If you see an invasive species on the list, use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network online reporting tool or download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone.

Want a more detailed look into invasive species? Check out this recent Showcasing the DNR story and sign up for a NotMISpecies webinar.

Find more information on invasive species in Michigan and management practices at Michigan.gov/Invasives.


Protect yourself from heat injury this week

A thermometer reading high into the 100s Farenheit, overlaid against an orange sky.Today through Sunday, much of the state will experience temperatures in the 90s, with heat index values near and above 100 degrees. When humidity is added to the mix, it can make temperatures feel even hotter, and heat can worsen air quality. Whether you want to work in the garden or just go for a walk, always take proper precautions.

Excessive heat disrupts our bodies from cooling properly, and access to water and cooling centers is critical – especially for the elderly and people with medical conditions.

Stay safe with these tips:

  • Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest in the morning and evening.
  • Spend time indoors in air conditioning.
    • Make sure your air conditioner filters are clean and the unit is working properly.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen, as sunburn affects a body’s ability to cool down.
  • Check on neighbors and relatives to see if they need assistance.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in cars, even with the windows cracked.

Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature and can result in death if not treated promptly. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 911 for immediate medical help and try to cool the person down by moving to a cooler environment and using cool cloths or a cool bath.

Make sure, too, to check the Air Quality Index, which can be found on the AirNow website. This map offers a color-coded way to see the levels of some types of air pollution in your area. Higher AQI values indicate a higher concentration of pollutants in the air and a need for people to take steps to protect their health.

For more information and guidance, visit Michigan.gov/ClimateandHealth and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Photo ambassador snapshot: Serene tiger swallowtail

A black and yellow butterfly perches demurely atop a treebranch, sheltering from the wind while it suns itself.See more pictures by Michigan state parks photo ambassadors at Instagram.com/MiStateParks. For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182. (This photo is by Marybeth Kiczenski, for the Michigan DNR, at Dodge #4 State Park in Oakland County.)


THINGS TO DO

Planning a trip to a Michigan state park, recreation area, hatchery or visitor center? Check ahead for the schedule of free nature programs.

BUY & APPLY

Want to boost your confidence in nature? Take a class from the Outdoor Skills Academy and hone your outdoor recreation know-how.

GET INVOLVED

Healthy pollinators start with healthy habitat. Find opportunities to volunteer for a stewardship day and help improve wildlife habitat in state parks!

DNR News: Stable wolf population in Michigan

DNR News: Stable wolf population in Michigan

 
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DNR News

June 13, 2024
Contact: Brian Roell, 906-228-6561

Latest DNR survey shows stable wolf population in Michigan

The survey estimates 762 wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, showing a consistent population for the past 14 years

The 2024 winter wolf population survey estimate from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources found a minimum of 762 wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This year’s estimate showed an increase of 131 animals compared to the 2022 estimate of 631; however, the results demonstrate a continued trend of statistical stability in Michigan’s wolf population.

“This year’s survey findings are statistically consistent with our wolf population surveys for the past 14 years,” said Brian Roell, the DNR’s large carnivore specialist. “When a wild population reaches this stable point, it is typical to see slight variations from year to year, indicating that gray wolves may have reached their biological carrying capacity in the Upper Peninsula.”

In other words, Michigan’s U.P. wolf population has achieved an equilibrium between availability of habitat and the number of wolves that habitat can support over time.

The survey, completed last winter, found the population distributed among 158 packs in the Upper Peninsula, with an average of 4.8 wolves per pack. This year’s survey represents the highest population estimate since 2012, when the department began doing the semiannual survey. The survey is conducted during the winter because it relies in part on identifying wolf tracks in the snow.

Prior to the winter of 2007, the DNR sought to count wolves throughout the entire Upper Peninsula. However, as the wolf population increased, this peninsulawide survey method became more difficult and time-consuming, especially the process of distinguishing among adjacent packs.

As a result, the department developed and evaluated a different sampling method to reduce the search area and allow additional time to accurately count wolves in neighboring territories. The new approach uses a geographic stratification – essentially breaking up regions into small pieces and ensuring those regions have representative samples – and produces an unbiased, precise minimum estimate of wolf abundance in Michigan’s U.P. during midwinter when wolves are at their lowest point in their yearly population cycle.

The DNR is currently evaluating two other techniques for estimating wolf abundance in the U.P. One relies on a track survey similar to the department’s current method. The other uses trail cameras spread across the U.P.

If successful, these additional techniques may have advantages over the current methodology, mainly by decreasing staff time. The camera model would have the added benefit of producing estimates at times of the year other than winter.

This March 2024 Showcasing the DNR story shares more about the survey pilot programs.

Lower Peninsula

At the same time, the department plans to continue its search for wolves in the Lower Peninsula. The last survey for the presence of wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula occurred in 2019. A new survey is planned for early 2025.

Monitoring wolf presence in the northern Lower Peninsula is significantly different than in the Upper Peninsula because wolves, if present in the Lower Peninsula, are at such low-density levels the track survey protocol used in the U.P. is impractical.

Instead, a targeted search approach based on resident reports of wolves or wolf sign – such as tracks or scat – is used to concentrate efforts in areas more likely to have wolves. The department also plans on testing some new technology using trace DNA collected from fresh tracks left in the snow to verify suspected wolf presence.

Although it is possible that individual wolves currently occupy the Lower Peninsula, as of April 2023, the state’s wolf population is not known to extend to that part of Michigan.

During the 2011 targeted winter track survey, and shortly after the 2015 survey period, tracks consistent with a wolf were observed in Cheboygan and Emmet counties. In 2014, biologists from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians captured what appeared to be a wolf on a trail camera and were able to collect a scat sample. DNA analysis of the scat confirmed the animal to be a male wolf.

The last wolf identified in the Lower Peninsula was a male wolf taken in January 2024 in Calhoun County by a coyote hunter. An investigation into the matter failed to determine how the wolf came to be in Calhoun County.

“Research has suggested that there is suitable habitat for wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula,” said Roell. “However, this habitat is fragmented and the ability of wolves to travel the landscape among these habitat patches is uncertain. Suitable habitat becomes even more patchy in the more populated southern Lower Peninsula, which makes it unlikely that wolves would establish themselves there.”

Wolves in Michigan are currently protected under the federal Endangered Species Act by federal court order. As a result of this status, wolves can be killed only if they are a direct and immediate threat to human life. Because wolves in Michigan long ago attained federal and state population goals, the DNR continues to advocate for returning wolves to state management.

For more about Michigan’s wolf population, including the Michigan Wolf Management Plan, visit Michigan.gov/Wolves.


Note to editors: The link to an accompanying photo is provided below. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NCTC Image Library.

DNR News Digest – Week of June 10, 2024

DNR News Digest – Week of June 10, 2024

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News Digest – Week of June 10, 2024

A fisherman, silhouetted in the glow of an early sunrise, casts a line from a kayak on a placid, misty lake.

Summer is a great time to explore Michigan’s state parks, trails and waterways!

Here are a few of this week’s stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.


Protect against mosquito, tick bites

A black-legged tick, a small arachnid with a brown body and dark legs.

This year’s warm, wet spring was prime time for some of Michigan’s nuisance insect species. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently issued tips to avoid bites by ticks and mosquitoes. Bug bites can be more than just an annoyance – they can have future health implications, so it’s important to stay informed and take steps to protect yourself and others.

Every summer in Michigan, bites from mosquitoes and ticks carry the risk of spreading diseases to people and animals. Ticks are known to carry Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, while infected mosquitoes can transmit eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus. Mosquitoes collected in Saginaw County last month tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus at the DHHS Bureau of Laboratories, the first infected mosquitoes detected in 2024.

Signs and symptoms of tick-borne disease typically begin one to two weeks after a tick bite, often after being in wooded or brushy areas where ticks commonly live. Early symptoms can be nonspecific and include fever or chills, rash, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. Early treatment with appropriate antibiotics can decrease the risk of serious complications.

The easiest way to protect from mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses is to prevent bites in the first place. Try these tips:

  • Avoid areas like woods, brush or tall grass, where ticks and mosquitos like to frequent.
  • Apply insect repellents containing DEET or other Environmental Protection Agency-approved products to clothing and exposed skin.
  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Check yourself, others and pets for ticks daily, and make sure to bathe as soon as possible when you head back inside to make sure none have hitched a ride.
  • Ensure window and door screens are sealed and maintained.
  • Empty standing water sources like buckets, old tires, unused kiddie pools and other stagnant water sources where mosquitos may lay eggs.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/EmergingDiseases.


Natural Resources Commission meets this week

A white-tailed deer doe and a yearling are shown standing in a meadow.

The next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission – Thursday, June 13, in Lansing – leads off with a Fisheries Committee agenda that includes an overview of the steelhead biodata results. The director’s report follows, with recognition of Hunter Education Instructor of the Year Award, a land use amendment, deer regulations and more.

The meeting also will include a series of public comments, a land use order and wildlife conservation orders.

The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. in Rooms M119-121 of Lansing Community College, West Campus, 5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing.

See the draft meeting agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC. For more information about the meeting, email [email protected].


ICYMI: Hone your wilderness survival smarts at summer outdoor skills classes

A pair of hands work to start a spark from flint and steel, flame leaping to life in the dry tinder of a survival fire.Would you know how to survive if you ever found yourself stranded outdoors? Landing in an unforeseen situation can be nerve-wracking, but learning the skills to handle it can make outdoor activities a breeze.

Besides tapping into a deeper awareness of nature, having the skills to survive outdoors can seriously boost your confidence, too. Interested in learning the basics? Check out the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy’s Bushcraft, Survival and Wild Edibles Clinic, June 28-30 or July 19-21 at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac.

You’ll learn how to find your way when no modern navigation tools are available, wilderness first aid, how to identify plants you can eat (and ones to avoid), how to safely start a fire without matches – plus how to shoot a bow and arrow and more.

In case you missed it, this is one of a variety of opportunities to boost your outdoor skills this summer, with classes covering pursuits like fly fishing, wild mushroom foraging and hunting bear, waterfowl and deer. See the Outdoor Skills Academy calendar for more details.


Photo ambassador snapshot: Glowing glass among the green

A sunset illuminates Proud Lake, casting the water in a glassy glow amidst a dark, green forest.See more pictures by Michigan state parks photo ambassadors at Instagram.com/MiStateParks. For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182. (This photo is by Paul Massie, for the Michigan DNR, at Proud Lake State Park in Oakland County.)


THINGS TO DO

Michigan has thousands of miles of water trails to explore by canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Find your next paddling adventure, plus all the know-how you need, on our paddling page.

BUY & APPLY

If you’re planning to visit state parks, trails and waterways this year, plan ahead and make sure you have a Recreation Passport!

GET INVOLVED

Want to take your outdoor stewardship to the next level? Grab some friends, gear up and help clean up illegal dumping sites in state forests with Adopt-a-Forest.

Improvements at state parks continue; temporary closures

Improvements at state parks continue; temporary closures

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DNR News

June 5, 2024
Media contact: Ron Olson, 517-243-1477 or Kristen Bennett, 248-431-1265

Improvements at state parks continue; temporary closures in place

workers in hard hats running lines in parkWith summer just around the corner, exciting improvements continue to take shape in many state parks across Michigan.

A $273 million boost in federal American Rescue Plan relief funding was approved by the Michigan Legislature and has enabled the DNR to tackle a decades-long backlog of state parks, recreation and trail system infrastructure and rehabilitation needs. The funding, secured through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and aligned with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Building Michigan Together Plan, will also support the construction of a new state park in Flint (Genesee County).

Altogether, the ARPA funding includes the initial $250 million allocated in March 2022 – $219.8 million for state parks program repair/rehabilitation needs and $30.2 million for the new state park in Flint – plus an additional $23 million allocated in August 2023 for Belle Isle Park rehabilitation.

These much-needed enhancements will require temporary closures during construction, but the upgraded facilities will create better park experiences for everyone now and in the future.

“Although you may see shovels in the ground across many locations, there’s still plenty of outdoor adventure to be found,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “With 100-plus state parks, 140 state forest campgrounds, more than a thousand boating access sites, historic sites and much more, there is no shortage of outdoor places to explore and enjoy this summer.”

Olson also noted that other ARPA-funded projects will start this fall and into 2025.

Current ARPA-funded closures

To install full-hookup sites and repave the roads at Algonac State Park (St. Clair County), the park’s day-use area is closed through early fall and the modern campground is closed through spring 2025. These projects and others are made possible thanks to a proposed $4.1 million in federal relief funding.

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and outdoor gardens in Belle Isle Park (Wayne County) have been closed since November 2022 to revitalize the upper 60 feet of the 80-foot-tall conservatory dome in one of the nation’s oldest turn-of-the-century glass houses still in existence. Both locations are anticipated to reopen in fall 2024. Additionally, the casino is closed through at least the end of the year for accessibility improvements. These projects and others are made possible thanks to a proposed $27.75 million in federal relief funding.

The furnace complex at Fayette State Park’s (Delta County) historic townsite is undergoing structural upgrades. The furnace complex will be closed to visitors during construction, which will likely take place throughout the entire summer. A proposed $6 million in federal relief made these renovations and others possible.

Fort Custer Recreation Area’s (Kalamazoo County) modern campground is closed through July 31 to replace both toilet and shower buildings and install new underground electrical conductors, site pedestals and distribution panels in the west loop. All other park facilities will remain open. A proposed $3 million in federal relief made these renovations and others possible.

To upgrade the park’s water and sewer system and beach house toilet building, Interlochen State Park’s (Grand Traverse County) modern campground and day-use area east of J. Maddy Parkway, including the swim beach, park store, roads and trails, are closed this summer. A proposed $3.57 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

To update roads and sidewalks, beach parking lots and restrooms, several closures will occur on varying timelines at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County). The road east of Kent Lake beach and the Bluebird and Hickory shelters are now closed through October. Kent Lake beach and Trout Lake, Kent Lake Dam and the Hickory Ridge Trail parking will close Aug. 8 through October. Other park areas will close this fall, including the park entrance, which will close to vehicular traffic Sept. 16 through October. Trails will remain open throughout construction and can be accessed by various nonmotorized park entrances. A proposed $2.95 million in federal relief made these renovations and others possible.

Due to paving and electrical, water and sewer improvements, Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area’s (Lapeer County) day-use area and modern campground are temporarily closed. The day-use area and boating access site are slated to reopen this month (around June 15) and the modern campground and overnight lodging options are set to reopen in April 2025. A proposed $5.91 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

A new toilet and shower building is under construction in Muskallonge State Park’s (Luce County) modern campground. As a result, campground section 3 is closed. Completion is slated for late summer. A proposed $3.275 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

To upgrade roads, water and sewer lines, electrical and the sanitation station, Port Crescent State Park’s (Huron County) modern campground and overnight lodging accommodations are closed for the 2024 season. A proposed $4.95 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

To pave park roads and the parking lot and update the pavilion in Rifle River Recreation Area (Ogemaw County), the day-use area and pavilion are closed through June 15. A proposed $2.91 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

Due to road paving and electrical improvements throughout the park, Seven Lake State Park’s (Oakland County) day-use area is closed Monday through Friday for much of the season and the modern campground is closed through Oct. 31. A proposed $3.1 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

To replace the toilet and shower building in Tahquamenon Falls State Park’s (Chippewa County) Lower Falls modern campground, the Hemlock loop is closed through at least July 1. A proposed $4.3 million in federal relief funding made these and future renovations possible.

To update electrical, sewer, park roads and the fishing pier in Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), the beach house, picnic shelters and Gun Lake campground have closed for the season. The majority of the day-use area, main park road and boating access site will remain open (except when construction work prohibits safe access). A proposed $5.5 million in federal relief funding made these and other renovations possible.

To fix drainage issues, build new toilet and shower buildings and replace old sewer pumps in Young State Park (Charlevoix County), the Spruce campground will close through late summer. A proposed $2.82 million in federal relief funding made these renovations and others possible.

Additional ARPA and closure information

To learn about the status of ARPA-funded projects and to view an interactive map identifying proposed project locations and status of those projects, visit Michigan.gov/StateParksProgress.

Check Michigan.gov/DNRClosures for the latest updates on park improvements, estimated closure dates and other details. Visitors will also find notices on other enhancements taking place this summer and into the fall.

Questions on the projects? Contact Kristen Bennett, development unit manager for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, at 248-431-1265 or [email protected].

DNR News: Michigan’s ‘Three Free’ Weekend June 8-9

DNR News: Michigan’s ‘Three Free’ Weekend June 8-9

 
DNR banner with link to website

DNR News

June 4, 2024
Contact: Ron Yesney (ORV), 906-228-6551; Randy Claramunt (fishing), 231-622-3820 or Ron Olson (Recreation Passport), 517-243-1477

Free fishing, off-roading and state park entry – enjoy it all during Michigan’s ‘Three Free’ Weekend June 8-9

Three Free Weekend FishingThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages everyone to take advantage of “Three Free” Weekend – Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9. It’s two full days when Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors can grab a fishing rod, ride the off-road trails and visit state parks, boating access sites and other outdoor locations — all free of charge.

“We’re excited to celebrate ‘Three Free’ Weekend, a time when everyone gets to enjoy and take part in some of Michigan’s best outdoor recreation opportunities: fishing, off-roading and exploring Michigan’s award-winning state parks,” said DNR Director Scott Bowen. “Whether you’re an avid outdoors-person or someone just discovering all that our beautiful state offers, ‘Three Free’ weekends make it easy to visit a new park, try a new nature experience or spend time with friends and family in a place you love.”

Three Free Weekend ORVThese two days include:

  • Free Fishing Weekend. Fish for all in-season species, all weekend long, without a license. All other fishing regulations apply. To get more details or find a local event, visit Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.
  • Free ORV Weekend. Legally ride 4,000 miles of state-designated routes and trails and the state’s six scramble areas without purchasing an ORV license or trail permit. Visit Michigan.gov/ORVinfo for the latest ORV trail, safety and closure information.
  • Waiver of the Recreation Passport. To encourage people to pursue free fishing and other outdoor fun, the DNR waives the regular Recreation Passport fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks, 1,000-plus state-managed boating access sites and many other outdoor spaces. Learn more about Passport benefits at Michigan.gov/RecreationPassport.

Free Fishing and Free ORV weekends each take place on back-to-back days twice a year, but the “Three Free” Weekend happens only in June.

Protect yourself and the outdoors

The Ride Right snowmobile safety logo is shown.For the best outdoor experiences, the DNR urges everyone to put safety first when enjoying Michigan’s woods, water and trails.

  • Helpful safety tips – for ORV, boating, beach, fire and other topics – are available at Michigan.gov/DNREducation in the Safety Information section. Please pay special attention to fire safety at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.
  • Trail users can do their part for invasive species prevention by removing dirt and debris from shoes, gear and vehicles before heading to the next location. Other easy ways to help include committing to Ride Right and following simple trail etiquette.
  • Boaters can help prevent the spread of invasive species by removing mud and debris from all surfaces, draining water from all bilges, wells and tanks, and drying all equipment before transporting boats over land.
  • The DNR also encourages anglers to review fishing safety tips and other helpful information at Michigan.gov/HowToFish.

Additionally, the DNR encourages everyone to #RecreateResponsibly. Before you head out on the trails or water, visit our Recreate Responsibly webpage to learn more about how you can stay safe and protect the health and beauty of our great state.


Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.